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Phonics and Reading


At Fixby we use Essential Letters and sounds as our systematic Synthetic Phonics programme.  An SSP is a Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme which is designed to teach children how to read through the act of decoding and blending.  This is followed with rigor and fidelity by all teachers and teaching assistants.  Discrete whole-class phonics lessons are taught to all children, daily in Reception and Year One.  To ensure that learning is embedded, flashcards and reading opportunities continue throughout the day and additional phonics teaching is given to identified children.  Phonics is the main strategy that we use to decode unfamiliar words and spelling across the school.  We believe that we can teach all children to read.

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read skilfully. They are taught how to:

  • Recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
  • Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’; and
  • Blend those sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘decode’ new words that they see or hear. This is the first important step to learning to read.

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7.


Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and read for enjoyment.

Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning difficult to read, for example those who have dyslexia.


When children are independent blenders, they can take a reading book home.  Each week children will read their reading book in school with an adult three times a week.  Reading books are selected by the teacher to match the sounds that children know or need to work on.  This approach ensures that books support the children to progress.



Individual assessments are completed for all children in Reception and Year One every half term.  Teachers use this information to monitor progress and to plan for necessary interventions to ensure that all children move forwards.


Resources for home

How can I help at home?

Practising the sounds

You can help your child practise the sounds they have been learning at school. Download the charts from the Oxford Owl for Home website so you can see the list of sounds in the order they’ll be taught: Essential Letters and Sounds - Oxford Owl You can show these to your child along with the picture to help them remember.

Reading decodable books

Your child will bring home reading books with words that use the sounds they have been learning in school. You may hear these reading books called ‘decodable books’. Use the prompts inside the front and back covers to enjoy the book together and help your child practise reading.

By reading and re-reading texts both in school and at home we offer children the opportunity to develop and build their reading fluency. The more you can read at home with your child, the better. We ask that children read the decodable reader they bring home at least three times during the week.

You can find more information about ELS, including the order the sounds are taught in, on the Oxford Owl website:

Essential Letters and Sounds Oxford Owl

The resources on the website link below will help support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters.  There are phrases to support letter formation and mnemonics to support children when remembering the digraphs and trigraphs.

Phase 2 pronunciation

Phase 3 pronunciation

Please see the Parents' Presentation all about the delivery of Phonics via the ELS Essential Letters and Sounds) scheme and how our school reading books have been matched to this.